8 powerful portraits of ordinary women changing the world for the better.

The Women Deliver Fourth Global Conference in 2016 was the largest gathering of people focusing on women's issues in more than a decade.

The event, held every three years since 2007, brought together people from around the world to discuss heath, well-being and rights of women. The conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, brought together nearly 6,000 people from 169 different countries.

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark (center) takes part in the conference. Photo by Jens Astrup/AFP/Getty Images.


The power of these women sharing their personal stories and ideas with one another cannot be denied.

It's emotional. It's empowering. And it's a reminder that when we listen to and support one another, it's possible to tackle these challenges on a global scale.

Here are eight of their stories shared with portrait photographer Andreas Bro.

(Edited for length and clarity.)

1. Praise Emenike, Nigeria

Praise works with Family Health International to get resources and services for people with HIV/AIDS.

Photo by Andreas Bro.

"The biggest issue today is gender-based violence. We have gender based inequalities everywhere. In the place where I work, women would need consent from their husband to access a simple HIV test. That shouldn't be an issue, to have access. They should be able to decide for themselves. And women who have unintended pregnancies, they should be able to decide this is what I want to do, this is how many children I want to have, and sometimes they don’t have that opportunity."

2. Clementina Ilukol, Uganda

Clementina is a leader of young midwives.

Photo by Andreas Bro.

“The best advice I have received is to take much time at school and acquiring higher levels of education and not be rushing into marriage. I am still single, and I feel I should work hard as far as school issues are concerned, and after that I will get married."

3. Laraib Abid, Pakistan

Laraib is a senior manager for Pakistan Afghanistan Tajikistan Regional Integration Program (PATRIP) Foundation. She works to empower women living in the border areas of these nations.

Photo by Andreas Bro.

"The main issue over here is that still majority of the women aren't considered equal to men. Their choice, mobility, wishes all are dependent on men. ... She is supposed to look after the family, cook, and clean home even if she is earning. This is a grassroots/micro level problem that directly affects the overall behavior and life of the people. Until daughters and sons both [are] treated equally, we can't come out of domestic violence, sexual assaults/harassment, even teasing, honor killing, etc. When a daughter is asked to iron clothes of her brother, polish his shoes, cook for him, and that brother doesn’t take a glass of water by himself and can take decisions of his sister's life, then how come we can achieve equality? The institutions, i.e., education, marriage, politics, health, family, and media, all gets influenced by this."

4. Gretchen, U.S.

Gretchen is a retired science teacher and school administrator.

Photo by Andreas Bro.

"The best advice I have received is be yourself and work for others because you gain power by working with others."

5. Chidinma Akpa, Nigeria

Chidinma, in her final year of medical school, studys surgical education.

Photo by Andreas Bro.

"The biggest challenge today is gender inequality. I would say most of the work women do goes unrecognized, unappreciated, unpaid for and most times they are even looked down upon ... . At times a woman is even the brains behind all the work being done. But somehow you find out that the appreciation is given to a man. It is repackaged, and they say 'with the help of' ... and the whole thing goes to a man. Especially back home in Africa. So I want us to, in terms of intellectual progress and creativity and innovation, let's give women a chance to come and stand side by side."

6. Denicia Cadena, U.S.

Denicia is a policy director at Young Women United, an organization that leads community organizing efforts for women of color in New Mexico.

Photo by Andreas Bro.

"I think most of what I've learned about change-making in this world has come from my mother, my sisters, my grandmothers, and I think in a different connected way from my ancestors. But it's really about focusing work in the community and that the people who are the most impacted are the experts of their own lives and will have the best solutions we need for our communities."

7. Edidiong Michael Umoh, Nigeria

Edidiong is a maternal child health officer.

Photo by Andreas Bro.

"The best advice I got was from my godmother. She's a judge in one of the states in my country. She used to say something to me when I was living with her at my [second] year of university: 'Whatever your hands find to do, do it as your are doing it onto God and not onto man because men will never reward you.' Always learn how to do whatever it is that you want to do with the mindset that you are not doing it for anybody, you are doing it for yourself."

8. Sadiqa Basiri Saleem, Afghanistan

Sadiqa is the executive director of the Oruj Learning Centre, which focuses on the education of women and girls.

Photo by Andreas Bro.

"Well, I will say the biggest issue for me is that women [are] seen as an issue ... . This concept, this understanding should be transformed into something brilliant that both men and women are active and a productive part of a whole society. Without women, this world cannot move on. So once this understanding is global, is universal, we will not see women as an issue."

Thankfully, this is a conference for dreamers and doers.

Following the conference, participants put together a document cataloging 100 of the best ideas and solutions to come out of the event.

And it's available to everyone.

Women have come a long way. But with generations of women still fighting for a fair shake, a good education, economic opportunities, and health services, we have no time to get complacent.

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Judy Vaughan has spent most of her life helping other women, first as the director of House of Ruth, a safe haven for homeless families in East Los Angeles, and later as the Project Coordinator for Women for Guatemala, a solidarity organization committed to raising awareness about human rights abuses.

But in 1996, she decided to take things a step further. A house became available in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and she was offered the opportunity to use it to help other women and children. So, in partnership with a group of 13 people who she knew from her years of activism, she decided to make it a transitional residence program for homeless women and their children. They called the program Alexandria House.

"I had learned from House of Ruth that families who are homeless are often isolated from the surrounding community," Judy says. "So we decided that as part of our mission, we would also be a neighborhood center and offer a number of resources and programs, including an after-school program and ESL classes."

She also decided that, unlike many other shelters in Los Angeles, she would accept mothers with their teenage boys.

"There are very few in Los Angeles [that do] due to what are considered liability issues," Judy explains. "Given the fact that there are (conservatively) 56,000 homeless people and only about 11,000 shelter beds on any one night, agencies can be selective on who they take."

Their Board of Directors had already determined that they should take families that would have difficulties finding a place. Some of these challenges include families with more than two children, immigrant families without legal documents, moms who are pregnant with other small children, families with a member who has a disability [and] families with service dogs.

"Being separated from your son or sons, especially in the early teen years, just adds to the stress that moms who are unhoused are already experiencing," Judy says.

"We were determined to offer women with teenage boys another choice."

Courtesy of Judy Vaughan

Alexandria House also doesn't kick boys out when they turn 18. For example, Judy says they currently have a mom with two daughters (21 and 2) and a son who just turned 18. The family had struggled to find a shelter that would take them all together, and once they found Alexandria House, they worried the boy would be kicked out on his 18th birthday. But, says Judy, "we were not going to ask him to leave because of his age."

Homelessness is a big issue in Los Angeles. "[It] is considered the homeless capital of the United States," Judy says. "The numbers have not changed significantly since 1984 when I was working at the House of Ruth." The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), over 66,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area were experiencing homelessness in 2020, representing a rise of 12.7% compared with the year before.

Each woman who comes to Alexandria House has her own unique story, but some common reasons for ending up homeless include fleeing from a domestic violence or human trafficking situation, aging out of foster care and having no place to go, being priced out of an apartment, losing a job, or experiencing a family emergency with no 'cushion' to pay the rent.

"Homelessness is not a definition; it is a situation that a person finds themselves in, and in fact, it can happen to almost anyone. There are many practices and policies that make it almost impossible to break out of poverty and move out of homelessness."

And that's why Alexandria House exists: to help them move out of it. How long that takes depends on the woman, but according to Judy, families stay an average of 10 months. During that time, the women meet with support staff to identify needs and goals and put a plan of action in place.

A number of services are provided, including free childcare, programs and mentoring for school-age children, free mental health counseling, financial literacy classes and a savings program. They have also started Step Up Sisterhood LA, an entrepreneurial program to support women's dreams of starting their own businesses. "We serve as a support system for as long as a family would like," Judy says, even after they have moved on.

And so far, the program is a resounding success.

92 percent of the 200 families who stayed at Alexandria House have found financial stability and permanent housing — not becoming homeless again.

Since founding Alexandria House 25 years ago, Judy has never lost sight of her mission to join with others and create a vision of a more just society and community. That is why she is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year — and the donation she receives as a nominee will go to Alexandria House and will help grow the new Start-up Sisterhood LA program.

"Alexandria House is such an important part of my life," says Judy. "It has been amazing to watch the children grow up and the moms recreate their lives for themselves and for their families. I have witnessed resiliency, courage, and heroic acts of generosity."

via Hennepin County Sheriff

The verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former Minnesota police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd, has many breathing a sigh of relief. Even though the disturbing video evidence of Floyd dying under Chauvin's knee is impossible to refute, it's incredibly hard to convict an officer of murder.

The United States judicial system is so preferential to law enforcement that even though the world saw murder in broad daylight, many were skeptical of whether he'd be convicted.

"Most people, I think, believe that it's a slam dunk," David Harris, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh and an expert in policing, told the Washington Post before the trial. "But he said, "the reality of the law and the legal system is, it's just not."

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.